7 Aug 2015

Sister of MH370 victim wants certainty

10:52 am on 7 August 2015

The sister of Kiwi MH370 passenger Paul Weeks say the family want certainty over plane debris found on an island in the Indian Ocean before they plan a memorial.

Searching the beach at Reunion.

Searching the beach at Reunion. Photo: AFP

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday ended a 17-month wait for verified physical evidence from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane when he said a team of international experts had confirmed a wing component found on Reunion last week was from MH370.

But prosecutors in France, where the debris is being analysed, have stopped short of declaring they are certain.

Paul Weeks' sister Sara Weeks said the families want 100 percent confirmation before they take the next step and plan funerals or memorial services.

Malaysia's transport minister said further debris had now been found on Reunion.

"We have also found debris like window panes, aluminium foil and seat cushions," Liow Tiong Lai said.

Mr Liow, who later specified he was referring to aircraft seat cushions and windows, said it remained to be seen whether the latest items found on the island were from the MH370.

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A relative of a passenger on missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 speaks to media after visiting the Malaysia Airlines' office in Beijing. Photo: AFP

"They are little parts, but the debris cannot be verified if it belongs to MH370. It has to be verified by the French authorities," he said.

The recovered flaperon, part of a Boeing 777's wing, is being analysed by experts at a military laboratory in the French city of Toulouse in the presence of French, Malaysian, Chinese and American representatives.

MH370 disappeared on 8 March last year, after inexplicably veering off course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

The first piece of direct evidence that the plane crashed in the ocean closed a chapter in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

But exactly what happened remains unknown, and Mr Najib's announcement did not appear to represent any kind of resolution for the families of those on board, most of whom were Chinese.

Despite the Malaysian confirmation, prosecutors in France stopped short of declaring they were certain the wing piece came from MH370, saying only that there was a "very strong presumption".

Paris prosecutor Serge Mackowiak said this was based on technical data supplied by both the manufacturer and airline but gave no indication that experts had discovered a serial number or unique markings that would put the link beyond doubt.

Malaysian experts are convinced the flaperon is from MH370 because a seal on the part matched a maintenance record and the paint was the same colour.

Representatives of manufacturer Boeing confirmed that the flaperon came from a 777 jet, he said, and Malaysia Airlines provided documentation of the missing aircraft.

Mr Mackowiak told reporters in Paris more analysis would be carried out on Thursday, and a fragment of luggage also found in La Reunion would be examined by French police.

"We appreciate the French team and their support and respect their decision to continue with the verification," Mr Liow said.


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